Place makes the poison: Wesolowski Award Lecture — 1999
- KIRK R SMITH
- Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental…
The crucial role of total exposure assessment (TEA) in environmental epidemiology, risk assessment, risk management, and disease diagnosis and treatment has been appreciated only in recent years, and then by a relatively small number of policy makers and scientists. Thus TEA is a relatively new research field with a limited data base. As a result, research needs cover a broad range. However, setting research priorities with limited resources is a problem. Agencies usually develop criteria to set priorities. The criteria often have at least one element in common, namely, that the research be compatible with policy goals. However, policies are developed, at least in part, using research data, thus making policy and research planning an iterative process. TEA, by definition, is related to multi-media and multiple routes of exposure. Because of this, research planning can be hampered by differences in policies of programs dealing with different media and routes of exposure. Thus it is important to develop better ways to facilitate communication among policy makers, research planners, and researchers. This paper will argue that one such way is the proper use of the basic scientific tenet of hypothesis testing in planning, executing, and evaluating research. The paper will discuss this tenet, and recommend that exposure researchers use it, not only to improve the quality of their individual research but also to provide a better mechanism for setting priorities for research projects.